“Godzilla Attack”! Simply Guerilla Marketing Or Something More?
If you drove through the Van Ness Avenue in San Francisco on Wednesday night, May 14, you may have witnessed an interesting prank. An electronic traffic sign was hacked, reading: “Godzilla Attack – Turn Back.” The sign was supposed to be reading something else – warning SF drivers about delays during Sunday’s Bay to Breakers foot race.
This prank was pulled just 2 days before the U.S. release of “Godzilla”, action/science-fiction remake, directed by Gareth Edwards, starring Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen and Bryan Cranston. Was this just a creative advertisement for the movie and a PR stunt? It’s a pretty weird coincidence, because in the movie, San Francisco is devastated by the Godzilla’s attack. In one of the scenes, it causes chaos at iconic, Golden Gate Bridge. Also, Godzilla movie had the second-largest opening weekend so far this year! It debuted to an amazing $93.2 million from 3,952 US theatres, far beyond everyone’s expectations.
Ali Wunderman, resident of the Van Ness Avenue, spotted the sign and took the photos. To the SFGate, she said: “I thought it was guerrilla marketing for the new Godzilla movie.” Pacific Highway Rentals provide the sign, and its boss, Paul Indelicato said that it only takes a minute to hack the sign and change the message. He thinks that it was done by someone who knew the combination code to sign’s lock.
If you thought that this is the first prank of this kind – you are mistaken. In 2012, the citizens of Maine were warned about the hordes of zombies, thanks to the sign that read “Zombies Ahead”. There’s one more: a traffic sign in Loomis, California was changed to read “Caution Loose Gorilla!” In New Jersey, you could read “Asswille next left”, probably referring to the Jersey Shore.
What would you do if you saw such a sign? Would you stop to take a photo or would you run for your life? Whatever it is, remember – the U.S. Air Force is not afraid of Godzilla! When Smithsonian’s Air & Space Magazine asked airmen at the Kadena Air Base in Okinawa how they would handle such threat, they gave more than interesting answers that you can check on their website (www.airspacemag.com).